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Monday, April 26, 2010

The Pacific Salmon Stronghold Conservation Act

Photograph © 2010 Robert Glenn Ketchum

Most of you know by now that I have spent the last 12-years trying to introduce the public to the magnificent, unspoiled habitat and park system of Southwest Alaska and to protect the largest commercial salmon fishery in the history of the world that it supports, Bristol Bay. My two books, "Rivers of Life: Southwest Alaska, The Last Great Salmon Fishery", "Wood-Tikchik: Alaska’s Largest State Park", and the national traveling exhibit I created to accompany them have been circulating in one form or another since 2001.

The immediate threats at the time were ill-advised oil and gas exploration leases offered by the Bush administration directly in the heart of the fishery, and the Pebble mine, proposed by a Canadian mining group and a consortium of international gold speculators that includes Mitsubishi. If built as proposed, the Pebble would be the largest open-pit, cyanide gold-leach mine in the history of the world, constructed in the headwaters of the two most productive salmon rivers in Southwest.

I am happy to report that since Obama has taken office, the oil/gas leases in Bristol Bay have been withdrawn. Many of us who have been building this campaign have recently been given the Partnerships in Conservation Award by Secretary Ken Salazar and the Department of the Interior.

Hoping to keep the momentum going, on Wednesday, April 21, I was part of a coalition that held a press conference in H-137 on Capitol Hill, and introduced The Pacific Salmon Stronghold Conservation Act. The bill is a result of a tremendous network of individuals, institutions and politicians, organized by the Wild Salmon Center. I spoke that evening as a Founding Fellow of the International League of Conservation Photographers (iLCP), and I was joined on the podium by Guido Rahr, President of the Wild Salmon Center, and California Congressman, Mike Thompson. There are already more than 70 bi-partisan co-signers of this legislation, so if you are interested and want to protect the last great wild salmon populations on earth, write to your legislators and ask them to become a co-sponsors of the Pacific Salmon Stronghold Conservation Act.

Unfortunately, the plans for the Pebble mine are still alive and well. If you are interested in action directed at stopping the mine, my website / blog / twitter / facebook sites will provide you with many links where you can take further action. Please say 'NO TO THE PEBBLE'. I, for one, see no advantage in trading a one-billion-dollar established industry that provides a clean, healthy food resource for Americans and thousands of jobs for a toxic mine that Canadians and gold speculators will profit from, leaving U.S. taxpayers stuck with the cost of cleaning up the Superfund site that will be left when the mine expires.


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Orvis Supports No Pebble Mine

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